T he reason for choosing this topic is to allow person to visualize, and to even come close to imagining the hardships that the Africans Slaves encountered in the atrocious Middle Passage. The Middle Passage made the researcher, as an historian, want to do further investigation and to fully analyze this intresting event and this is why the topic was chosen.
After the slaves had been captured and gone through the process of selection on the coast, they were led to the ship to begin their horriffic journey through the Middle Passage. The journey of the Middle Passage, as gruesome as it was, was the second leg of the Triangular Trade. It was deemed gruesome because of the countless deaths which took place. These deaths which took place. These deaths were directly and indirectly as a result of the treatment abourd the slavers. The enslaved africans were confined under the deck. Under deck ran tire upon tier of opened ended box like trays 150 centimeters long and 50 centimeters wide and high. The men were placed in these with iron shackles, with chains looping it, connecting it to their neighbours. Women and children where located in the fore section, they were put to lye on their sides and even at times on top of each other.
John Netwon (a slave captain between the years 1745 to 1754) wrote an account of one of his experiences on how the enslaved Africans were placed on the ships and also the layout of the ship, it states ,”With our ships, the great object is, to be full. When the ship is there, it is thought desirable, she should tke as many, as possible. The cargo of a vessel of a hundred tons, or little more, is calculated to purchase fromtwo hundred and twenty to two hundred and fifty slaves.Their lodging-rooms below the deck, which are three (men, boys and girls) besides a place for sick, are sometimes more than five feet high, and sometimes less; and this height is divided towards the middle, for the slave lie in two rows, one above and the other, like books upon a shelf. I have known then so close, that the shelf would not easily, contain one more book.” As seen in the account they were close together, because of this and not having any places for the enslaved african to release their natural wastes (urine and faeces), they had to do it right where they were. This contributed to severe sicknesses such as: small pox, fever, inflamation, which also contributed to death but not only that but also suffication.
It did not only contributed to these sicknesses but also an atrocious stench that was heart renching. The atmosphere was no longer suitable for respiration to take place. Olaudah Equiano (an african slave) wrote about his expriences on the Middle Passage about the dreadful atmosphere.It states”I was soon put down under the decks, and there I recieved such a greeting in my nostrils as I had never experienced in my life; so that, with the loathsomeness of the stench, and cry together, I became sick and low that I was not able to eat, nor had I least desire to taste anything. I now wished for the last friend , death, to relieve me.” As seen in Olaudah Equiano’s account, the ghastly atmosphere was not only an enemy to the nostrils but also the body itself. It caused lost of appittite and also great lost of life, but these horrific sicknesses did not only affect the enslaved african but also the whites themselves as seen in an account written by John Newton which was a ship captain.”
Epidemical fever and fluxes, which fill the ship with noisome noixious effluvia, often breakout, infect the seamen likewise, and the oppressors, and the oppressed fall by the same stroke. I believe, nearly one half of the slaves on board, have, sometimes, died; and the loss of a third part in these circumstances is not unusual.”This showed how serious it was and all of this occured because of the atmosphere that was developed under the deck (vomit mixed with urine, faeces,dead bodies,and blood). Though this did play a massive part iof the deaths on board the heart breaking journey on the Middle Passage, but it was accompined by the inhumane actsof the whites.Thomas Phillip, a slave ship captain, shared his account of what took place on one of his voyages which was written in A JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE in the year of 1746,”I have been informed that some commanders have cut off the legs and arms of the most willful slaves, to terrify the rest, for they believe that, if they lose a member, they cannot return home again.
I was advised by some of my officers to do the same, but I could not be persuaded to put in practice such barbarity and cruelty to poor creatures who, excepting their want of Christianity and true religioun, are as much the workof God’shandsw, and no doubt as dear to him as ourselves.”This account showed how cruel they were being treated on ships in The Middle Passage.As seen in this account from Thomas Phillip, they had no concern to the africans life , so they would just kill them cooled heartedly as if they were nothing but furniture.This was a brutal act but it did happen.There wre many instances that acts like this occured in The Middle Passage, but it was not only by cutting of their legs and arms off but also by beating them to death and destroying them emotionally causing them to commit suicide.